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Scholarly Communication : Creative Commons

Introduction to Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help creators share and disseminate their work more easily.  CC licenses allow creators to retain some of their work while granting permission to others to share, use and disseminate. 

Creative Commons in Four Parts


   BY- Attribution 

ALL CC licenses require attribution, meaning that if a person decides to use your work, they must appropriately cite the original work and link back to it. 

 Non- Commercial

CC licenses with this restriction mean that work CANNOT be used for commercial purposes.  


CC licenses with this restriction mean that if the original work is revised or adapted, the newly created material must be shared under similar license terms. This helps ensure that open resources continue to stay open even as they are remixed and adapted. 

 No Derivatives

 CC licenses with this restriction mean that no derivatives can be made of the work. The original work can still be shared and disseminated as long as the original creator is cited and no changes are made to the work. 



Creative Commons Licenses Explained

graphic showing least open copyrights to most open types of creative licenses.

Creative Commons Licenses Explained, graphic made by Creative Commons. 

Parts of a Creative Commons License

Creative Commons licenses offer three parts. The first is the legal jargon that details the licensing agreement. The second is the human readable version which provides in layman's terms what the license covers. This allows users to quickly and easily understand what the CC license allows and how others can use or share the resource. The third part, is the machine readable portion of the license. This part of the license can be embedded into websites and digital content with links to the CC license.